Bump and run accidents account for 12 per cent of all claims made in Queensland car parks. Photo: iStock
Bump and run accidents account for 12 per cent of all claims made in Queensland car parks. Photo: iStock

Selfish Aussie hit and run drivers cost us an extra $6000

Australians are paying higher insurance premiums because of thoughtless motorists who bump into parked cars and don't leave their details.

The hit-and-run merchants are forcing other motorists to either pay for the repairs themselves or face losing their no-claim bonuses because they can't prove another person was at fault for the damage.

New research by insurance comparison website Finder indicates that one in four people have had their car damaged by a driver who fled the scene without leaving their details.

Comparison website Finder said that even a small ding can leave a car owner out of pocket between $400 and $650, while unreported "sideswipes" can cost up to $6000.

Finder insurance expert Taylor Blackburn said that the victim was often forced to pay if they couldn't track the culprit.

If a driver flees the scene of an accident, you should report it to the Police.
If a driver flees the scene of an accident, you should report it to the Police.

Comprehensive insurance will cover the cost of repairs in most cases, but often a customer is asked to pay the excess if they can't find the culprit.

"In order to avoid paying an excess on a hit-and-run claim, you need to be found 'not at fault', which can be difficult to prove," Mr Blackburn said.

"You can avoid having to pay your excess at all if you can track down the culprit," he said.

But making a claim could spell the end of your no claim bonus, raising the price of premiums.

The research found that one in five people involved in an anonymous bingle don't have comprehensive insurance and have to foot the bill.

Katie McArthur from northwest Sydney has been the victim of two hit and run incidents.

The first one several years ago left her thousands out of pocket after extensive damage was done to her car.

Sydney resident, Katie McArthur, who has had her car damaged twice, including recently in her quiet suburb street, with the culprits driving away. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Sydney resident, Katie McArthur, who has had her car damaged twice, including recently in her quiet suburb street, with the culprits driving away. Picture: Dylan Robinson

"I was parked outside my friends. Someone speeding down the street side swiped my car, both doors scrapped and the mirror knocked off," said Ms McArthur.

"I called the police and they filed the report and there really wasn't anything they could do."

"I got it repaired through insurance because the damage was quite severe and I had to pay the excess. And the next time I tried to insure the car I noticed the premiums had gone up substantially."

Ms McArthur recently had her side mirror knocked off when her car was parked in her quiet cul-de-sac.

She said she would foot the bill of several hundred dollars for the latest damage so that her premiums don't rise.

Drivers can be left hundreds of dollars out of pocket by thoughtless motorists. Photo: iStock
Drivers can be left hundreds of dollars out of pocket by thoughtless motorists. Photo: iStock

The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) said the issue of drivers not leaving a note is especially prevalent in shopping centre carparks.

RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said: "Unfortunately, we do see people side swiping and colliding with vehicles in car parks across Queensland and not leaving a note for the owner of the vehicle."

"And, in the past year alone, more than 12 per cent of the motor vehicle insurance claims we've recorded in car parks were caused by third parties who couldn't be identified.

Ms Ross said that November and December were the peak times for these types of incidents and there was more than $20m worth of claims from carpark incidents in 2019 alone.

A spokesman for the National Roads and Motoring Association Insurance encouraged motorists affected to contact them immediately so they can investigate and try to track down the other driver through security footage or witnesses.

"If we can't track down the other driver, the impact on a customer's no claim bonus (NCB) can vary. Some customers may be unaffected while others may see a reduced NCB discount at their next renewal," he said.

NSW Police said that a driver involved in an accident must stop at the scene of the accident and give their details to the driver and any other person affected.

If the other driver leaves the scene without providing their details it should be reported to the Police. The offender faces the possibility of being charged and issued an infringement notice of $3549 and a loss of three demerit points.

Tesla has new Sentry Mode which will record vandals in the act.
Tesla has new Sentry Mode which will record vandals in the act.

There are some ways to catch pesky bump and run offenders, motorists could have a dashcam installed to record video evidence of the incident.

Electric car maker tesla has gone one further introducing a Sentry Mode, which uses the vehicle's 360-degree camera to detect a robbery or damage - for example, a dooring in a carpark - and start recording it to provide video evidence to catch perpetrators.

It was recently used to record a vandal attack a $125,000 Model S with a skateboard in an Albury carpark.

Estimated monthly premiums for July's top 10 selling cars

Toyota RAV4 - $91

Ford Ranger - $137

Toyota HiLux - $133

Toyota Corolla - $97

Hyundai i30 - $82

Mazda CX-5 - $88

Mitsubishi Triton - $132

Mazda CX-3 - $98

Toyota Camry - $107

Mazda3 - $80

*Based on male driver in Sydney over the age of 30.